Warriors can't solve Kings

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Warriors can't solve Kings

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- David Lee wasn’t hearing any of it.

“The gas is always up, our gas is fine, don’t worry about that,” the Golden State Warriors’ forward said with a blend of humor and emphasis.

The Warriors, playing their eighth road contest in nine games, had their worst defensive game of the season in a 131-127 loss to the host Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.

While the team doesn’t allow excuses to cloud losses, logic says that eventually the car will run out of gas, even if it just a short trip to Sacramento.

The loss in Sacramento came on the second night of a home-road, back-to-back, following Tuesday night’s home win against New Orleans that followed a season-long, seven-game road trip.

Lee acknowledged that even the 90-minute bus trip to Sacramento still has the same road feel, but to the tune of Mark Jackson’s team mantra, he won’t let an excuse cloud a loss.

“It probably didn’t help that we played yesterday, but we’re not going to use that as an excuse,” said Lee, who scored 29 points and tallied eight rebounds and five assists.

“We need to have more energy than we did and it showed, not so much on the offensive end but defensively.”

It was Golden State’s worst defensive effort of the season, as the team allowed a season-worst 131 points on 50 percent shooting. The Warriors previous worst defensive effort came on Nov. 18 in Oklahoma City when they allowed 119 points to the Thunder.

Jackson wouldn’t even entertain the thought of weary legs after extended road games, making a point in his postgame news conference to directly answer any questions of fatigue with the simple adage: “We’re a no-excuse basketball team.”

The Warriors trailed by as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter, but came back to lead 117-114 with 4:33 remaining in the game.

Playing down to the competition
With the Warriors’ last three losses coming to teams below .500, the Warriors coach was asked if perhaps his team was playing down to the competition.

“That’s comical, man,” Jackson said. “We are a team that can be beaten by the best and can be beaten by the worst. We need to play our brand of basketball to stay successful and when we don’t we can be disappointing.”

Warriors surge behind Curry
On the same night they allowed the most points of the season, the Warriors also scored a season-high 127 points. Jarrett Jack scored 28 points and had seven rebounds off the bench.

Trailing 104-90 early in the fourth quarter, the Warriors took the lead with 6:23 remaining in the fourth quarter at 112-111 on one of Stephen Curry’s seven three-pointers.

The Warriors star guard, with 32 points on the night, fouled out with just more than two minutes remaining and the game tied at 118-118. Curry shot 8-for-14 in the second half, after a cold 3-for-10 first half. Curry added six rebounds and four assists.

Kings hang on
The Kings gained separation in the final moments with three-pointers by Aaron Brooks and Marcus Thornton and held on in the final minutes.

The Kings had seven players in double-digits, led by a team-high 24 points by DeMarcus Cousins. Aaron Brooks added a season-high 23 points for Sacramento.

The Warriors trailed most of the game until the fourth quarter, falling behind early 33-24 at the end of the first quarter after shooting 38.5 percent. Jarrett Jack showed guts on a wide-open, pull-up three-pointer in transition to cut the lead to 109-106 with 7:20 remaining.

The Warriors fell behind early, trailing 33-24 at the end of the first quarter after shooting 38.5 percent.

Offensive effort inside goes wasted
When the Warriors stayed patient, they had no problem finding looks in the paint on one-timers. But they also couldn’t defend the key, and they were outscored 50-44 in the paint.

Golden State outrebounded the Kings 42-40. Usually winning the rebound battle is a telling sign of a win, but the Warriors now fall to 16-2 when securing more rebounds than their opponent.

Follow @jimmypspencer on Twitter for more Warriors news and analysis.

Durant's future with the Warriors: 'I’m just in it for the long haul'

Durant's future with the Warriors: 'I’m just in it for the long haul'

With the salary cap rising , Kevin Durant is expected to opt out of the second-year of his two-year contract with Golden State and become a free agent again this summer.

But don't plan on him signing with another team.

“I’m liking it here,” Durant told Sam Amick of USA Today Sports at the Warriors' groundbreaking ceremony. “I’m liking everything that’s going on. I know what my contract says, but I didn’t plan on coming here for just a year. I’m in it right now, and I’m also just focusing on day by day.

“I know it’s cliché, and you hear that all the time, but I’m seriously just not thinking about it because I’m like – I’m just in it for the long haul.”

[RELATED: Durant on Chase Center: 'It'll be fun playing in there']

Warriors owner and CEO Joe Lacob is not concerned about losing Durant.

He also fully anticipates re-signing free-agent-to-be Stephen Curry.

“I have no angst whatsoever," Lacob told Amick. "I totally am positive (that) I think those guys are going to sign. They’re both free agents. They have a right to do whatever they want. They’ve earned it, and I respect that.

"If they don’t sign with us for some reason, then shame on me and us. I take responsibility for that. But I don’t see that happening.”

Durant building 'Thunder Stopper' reputation after 40-point effort

Durant building 'Thunder Stopper' reputation after 40-point effort

OAKLAND -- Kevin Durant, Thunder Stopper? With a second consecutive magnificent performance in decisive wins over his former Oklahoma City teammates, Durant may be adding a nickname.

Durant on Wednesday night posted his first 40-point game as a Warrior, carrying them to a 121-100 win over the Thunder at Oracle Arena.

He has scored 79 points in two games against OKC, taking only 40 shots to ring up such an impressive total. He was 13-of-16 Wednesday night and 15-of-24 in scoring 39 points in a 122-96 win on Nov. 3 at Oracle.

Though Durant downplayed his production, his coach and teammates were not surprised he has been so good against the team with which he spent nine seasons.

“It’s still kind of fresh, but we can’t deny the history of him with OKC,” Stephen Curry said.

“Every player in the NBA wants to play well against his old team,” coach Steve Kerr said. “For most guys, you feel that extra juice when you play against a team that you played on.”

Durant not only finished with a season-high point total but also added a team-best 12 rebounds, along with four assists and three blocks. He practically stamped his signature on the game.

“My teammates are doing a good job of freeing me up,” said Durant, who drilled 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. “I put the work in and prepared myself for every game. I just happened to knock them down.”

It’s not just that Durant was facing his former team, though. He was, once again, on opposite sides from longtime teammate and erstwhile friend Russell Westbrook. The two have not had much to say to each other since Durant’s decision last July to leave OKC and sign with the Warriors.

Little changed Wednesday night, though the two had a brief exchange in the second half, as Durant headed to the line to shoot a pair of free throws.

Asked if the two have talked, Westbrook said, “Nah,” despite the brief dialogue.

Durant carefully avoided saying anything remotely inflammatory about Westbrook or any of his former teammates.

“It’s good to see everybody,” he said. “Once the ball is tipped, you’re just playing. You’re just hooping. It’s as simple as that. But it’s definitely good to see everybody.”

Durant’s lone lowlight came when he blew a dunk with 1:45 left in the first half, taking flight about 10 feet from the basket and slamming the ball off the back of the rim and nearly to halfcourt.

“I thought I made it,” Durant said, “and then I heard the crowd.

“I was kind of upset. I tried to dunk it too hard, I think. I might have jumped from a little too far out. As I was close to the rim, I felt myself coming down a little earlier than usual.

“But, yeah, I should have made that one. That would have brought the crowd to its feet. But, hopefully, I’ll get another opportunity.”

The crowd was on its feet plenty, as was the case during Durant’s previous display against OKC. The Thunder won’t be back to Oakland this season.

Durant will have another chance to go after his former team and burnish his credentials as a Thunder Stopper when the teams meet on Feb. 11 in Oklahoma City.